Weekly Photo Challenge: Autumn Nostalgia

Alabama dirt road

These photos may not be the most technically adept, but when I see them I’m always reminded of home. They bring back such vivid memories of fall in southern Alabama – football games, bonfires, snuggling with boys, laughing with girlfriends, baking with my mom and grandmas, and the start of the holidays. I’m immediately a teenager again and I can still feel that same confusing tug deep in my heart for some great unknown.

This week’s challenge is “nostalgia.”

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A Moroccan Photo Safari

camels in the Sahara Desert, Morocco

For almost a year now I’ve been searching for the words to write about my experience with the Helicon Arts Moroccan Photo Safari last October. The best way I can think to sum it up – I have been lucky enough to travel so many places in this world and to meet some amazing people; this was the best trip yet.

Morocco ended up being my destination of choice because it was on a new continent (Africa), had a safe reputation, and had always seemed magical to me. All of these reasons turned out to be totally justified – particularly the magical atmosphere! I won’t go so far as to say that Morocco is my new favorite country, but I did really enjoy my time there. I think part of my problem was how similar the landscape was to the southwest, but I will say that the culture and the people more than made up for any of my reservations on the similar landscapes. For that reason and so many others, the country will always hold a special place in my heart.

Morocco_Seaside

I knew when planning this adventure that I wanted to go on a tour. I opted for a photography tour for the experience and to meet like-minded people. I researched so many companies before I found HeliconArts, but as soon as I read the photo tour description I knew it was the one for me! It’s a British company and the groups are typically small (usually no more than 8 I believe, including the professional photographer). The price was good and the customer service was fabulous! I would definitely consider booking with them again if they decide to expand their photography tour destinations!

photographer reflection

My group ended upΒ  being incredibly diverse – 3 Americans and 3 Brits of various backgrounds ranging from 18 to 60+. We all had different levels of experience with photography, but no one felt left behind thanks to our amazing pro. It’s an incredibly rare thing to find 1 other person you get along with on a trip like this, nevermind 5, but that’s exactly what happened here. For that week, we were a family. Those awesome people made that trip, and they also make it difficult to talk about. I miss them, but hopefully we’ll all meet again on future travels…

Morocco_AitBenHaddou13

Morocco_RoadSide2_15

Morocco_Goats

I’ve posted some of the photos here and there on the blog, but haven’t really directly addressed the trip as I had planned. I’ve decided that in lieu of formal posts, at least for now, I’ll been posting photos with mini-stories on my Instagram instead. The tour goes back to Morocco this October 1-8 and as I understand it, there are still a couple spots left. If anyone’s interested, be sure to check out HeliconArts. If you have any questions, I’m always happy to answer!

As a bonus, here’s the end of trip video we shot on our last night. I think it does a pretty good job summing up just how much fun we had – and it’s likely the only video you’ll ever see of me on here! πŸ˜‰

P.S.
Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for more Moroccan fun!

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Four Corners Monument

This past weekend my friend and I decided to escape the Phoenix heat and head north for some peace and cooler weather. We ended up in northeastern Arizona to check out some of the sites on/near the Navajo Nation, which just so happens to be one of my favorite places. (smile) It turned out to be a pretty epic road trip that exceeded all expectations! It was so nice to get out of the city and into wide open spaces – discovering new places became a bonus!

Four Corners Monument, Navajo Reservation

One of the more tourist-y stops, and I admit one I’ve wanted to visit for years now, was the Four Corners Monument. This is the only point in the U.S. shared by four states – Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. How can you resist a trip to four places all in one?! (You I can’t…obviously πŸ™‚ )

Four Corners Monument, Navajo Reservation

Luckily, I had been forewarned that the monument was very much a tourist attraction so my expectations weren’t too high. The Navajo (who operate the monument) have built a nice venue around the formal survey marker. This venue also happens to be divided into stalls, which feature local vendors selling crafts and souvenirs. So it’s a bit of a cross between monument and craft fair. Other than the marker itself, shopping is really the only other thing to do there, so be prepared. There was a nice queue for photos with the survey marker and several bystanders were kindly filling in as impromptu photographers. It was a nice to see everyone coming together for a common cause! (smile)

Four Corners Monument, Navajo Reservation

Four Corners Monument, Navajo Reservation

The entry fee for Four Corners Monument is $5 per person. Operating hours at the time of this posting are 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week. Remember that while most of Arizona does not observe daylight savings time, the Navajo reservation does. This means that between March and November, the reservation is an hour ahead of the rest of the state, so plan accordingly. Oh and be sure to heed the signs…. (smile)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone but not Forgotten

This week’s photo challenge is “gone but not forgotten.” I figure this photo fits that theme on a couple of different levels. The bustling society that built the great temples may be gone, but their breathtaking work is certainly not forgotten. Likewise, I will never forget just how carefree and happy I was in the moment this picture was taken. I can’t help but remember and smile every time I see this photo (smile).

Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor complex, Cambodia

Happy weekend everyone!!